The brilliance of bands like Hüsker Dü or Social Distortion is all in the merging of aggression and melody. Bob Mould and Mike Ness for my money are two of the best at it. Of course Nirvana hammered it home in the 90s selling millions of records in the process and opening the floodgates.
Toronto’s BROOMFILLER, led by multi-instrumentalist Richard Leko, have been using that blueprint for the past decade to release music that is built on aggression but consistently gives way to catchy hooks and pop melodies. Their third full-length – Third Stage Propeller Index is a clear progression from their earlier work (2002’s Watching The Girls Go Bi / 2006’s Enter the Storm) and straddles a line between Foo Fighterish anthems and the punk rock of Bad Religion.
We checked in with Richard to get the low down.
Richard D. Leko – songwriter, guitarist, vocalist (live). All instruments on the album.
Terry – Bass / backing vocals
Andres – Guitar / backing vocals
Val – Synth / Keys / Percussion
Olaf – Drums
How did you become BROOMFILLER and what’s the story behind the name?
Very long story. haha. Many moons ago, I was drumming in a 3 piece band and was rehearsing in our guitarist / singer’s living room. His younger brother came home from school and we all said hi to him, and he seemed unusually mopey. So we asked him “what’s up?” He eventually told us that in one of his classes the teacher had put up several scrambled words up on the chalkboard and all the students had to guess what the word was. Well, he put his hand up to answer one of the scrambled words on the chalk board. The teacher asked him what it was, and he said confidently “LIDBOY.” The class laughed, and he then had to justify his answer, by saying that it was a person that stood near a garbage can and made sure the “lid” was on. Or something to that effect. Of course everyone laughed more. He told us that the word actually was “BODILY”. So naturally, we all laughed at him thinking that LIDBOY was the stupidest answer ever!! The guitarist/ singer said that if he ever had a side project, that he would call it LIDBOY. We all laughed, again, thinking how stupid this sounded. We went back to jamming more and then after the jam as we were packing up, we were all still laughing about it. I told him that a LIDBOY makes about as much sense as a… BROOMFILLER. It was just a word that came out of my mouth without any thought or reason. Again, we all laughed thinking that was even MORE stupid than LIDBOY. I then tried to “one up” my friend and said, “well, if I ever have a side project, I’ll call it BROOMFILLER.
Well, about 6 months later, that band folded and I couldn’t find another band to drum for. So I eventually decided to front my own band as the guitarist and singer and play all MY songs for a change that I’ve been demoing on my 4 track over the years. I found myself a drummer and a bass player so we could play them live. That band was called – BROOMFILLER.
Tell us about your hometown scene…
Toronto’s scene is quite vibrant and supportive of each other however, things have changed over the years. The only criticism i would have of it, is that people don’t stay to watch all the bands during a local show. Usually, people show up for the one band they came to see, then leave. It’s not as supportive as it should be.
Describe your sound as a cocktail – what’s it called and what’s in it?
The BROOMFILLER cocktail – 2 parts melodic punk rock, 1 part energetic live show & 1 part off-stage bizarre sense of humour.
Tell us about your live show…
Lots of energy, interaction with the audience and lot’s of airtime with jumps galore!
How does your songwriting process work?
BROOMFILLER has been my passion project for many years, so I write all the songs and lyrics. I always write on my electric guitar, and come up with any neat melodic riffs or melodic phrases, and tend to sing a gibberish melodic vocal line to it. These ideas are recorded and eventually (if not immediately) turned into full songs. Typically though, a lot of these song ideas get shelved and pulled off the shelf days, weeks or months even years later to be worked on further. It’s an ongoing process with many songs simultaneously being demoed and shelved and worked on continuously.
What influences the band lyrically?
Whatever I’m feeling at the time. Usually darker / lonely or sad themes are what trigger lyrical ideas. Very rarely anything happy. That being said, these sad themed songs make me very happy when they are finished and performed.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….
I have to list a few of these:
Tchaikovsky era when he wrote Romeo and Juliet – would love to witness his greatness while he worked and how he came to his interpretation of this piece.
Prokofiev era – when he wrote Romeo and Juliet – would love to witness his greatness while he worked and how he came up with his interpretation of this.
Erik Satie – when he wrote the Six Gnossiennes – such an amazing piece.
1968-1974 – watching how Neil, Geddy & Alex came together to form RUSH.
What tunes are currently on heavy rotation for you…
Pennywise -It’s not enough to Believe
viseMenn – Begging You Please
RUSH – Analogue Kid
M83 – Wait
The Temper Trap – Science of Fear
Thievery Corporation – Sweet Tides
The Box – So Beautiful
Bracket – Warren’s Song Pt. 2
Deftones – Goon Squad
Deftones – This Place is Death
Face to Face – In Harm’s Way
Foo Fighters – The Last Song
Jawbox – Static
Jawbox – U-Trau
Jim Dan Dee – Friends
Kurt Vile & The Violators – Losing It
Kurt Vile – Blackberry Song
Metric – Help I’m Alive
Millencolin – Shut You Out
If you could tour with any band right now who would that be and why?
Foo Fighters – because they are a huge music influence, amazing musicians and put on one hell of a live show. As well, I’d love to be able to share the stage with Dave Grohl.
If you could only bring ONE record in the tour van/bus/plane what would it be?
That is a very unfair question!! haha. Rush – Different Stages
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
On film sets Directing music videos and short films.
What’s up for the rest of 2016?
Releasing another single and music video shortly, more touring and as many shows and promo as possible. Lots to come, stay tuned!! 🙂